A lot of the combat during the ACW took place in wooded terrain. But looking at the BP rules for terrain it seems like combat in the woods is nearly impossibe. Troops can only move as skirmishers and since apparently woods totally block line of sight, you can't shoot at other troops in the woods. So the only option is for one batch of skirmishers to charge other batches of skirmishers in the woods. And the defenders wouldn't get closing fire because they can't see the attackers until they actually come into base contact.
Now historically troops DID fight in the woods and they were able to form lines of battle in the woods and they did engage in (close range) fire fights. I'm an ACW reenactment battalion commander and it is possible to move formed bodies of troops through the woods. Slowly, to be sure, but well trained troops can keep or quickly reform their formations even in bad terrain like woods.
So how should we handle woods in ACW battles? I'd suggest we have two different types of woods. "Heavy Woods" would be exactly as described in the rules--a tangled jungle that no one in their right minds would try to fight in, and "Normal Woods" which are more open and with the following rules: 6" LoS in and around woods. So shooting is possible. it will all be at close range but the -1 for partially obscured will cancel out the +1 for close range. Troops can be in close order formations in woods, but move at half speed and count as disordered when they move. If they stand still they can regain their order even in the woods. They can charge, but will do so disordered.
That all works for me, well thought out. I am sure your own reenactment experiences have been of great help.
So many actions were fought in such terrain, I had the same issues for Guilford Courthouse during my AWI games. I think your ideas would have been very useful and I shall certainly try them out in future games.
The officers will...inculcate in the mens' minds a reliance on the bayonet; men of their bodily strength and even a coward may be their match in firing, but the bayonet in the hands of the valiant is irresistible. Lieutenant-General Burgoyne
This is a good thread. I encountered exactly the same dilemma tonight playing BP.
Can i check something else. When firing out of woods, is it conventional to line the models on the edge of the woods and get cover bonuses (+1 save, unclear target)? Woods block line of sight, but I guess troops on the edge just count as being in cover.
Also, what happens if, as with tonight, the opponent 'boxes me in' to the woods with a solid line of his own troops right at the edge, preventing my skirmishers from exiting? I guess I can shoot at them, as above. I can't do anything else in those circumstances other than talk a long walk to exit the woods at a different point. Even if he has his back to me!
Gentlemen, I fought a Gettysberg-esque game yesterday, 2 Divs per side and we had about 30% of the table covered in woods. We banged into the same rules problem. We got around it by saying that it was rough ground that gave a +1 cover save for shooting. How have you found the disorder modifier for combat (-1 to hit, -1 to break test)? It seems like a big modifier, but obviously justified when I think about it? The other issue that came up yesterday was Attack columns in ACW. Do you guys let the lads in grey and blue go forward in attack column or not? It is just that it seems to be a formation that never appears in accounts I've seen, albeit I am lightly read. Your thoughts? Julian